Dust3D Feature Preview: Instant remeshing

Jan 24, 2020 at 10:00 am by nemirc

A few months ago, I wrote about Dust3D. Dust3D is a free, and open source, 3D modeling application that features auto UV mapping, auto-rigging, PBR material support, plus posing and animation. The application is being developed using funds from Epic’s Mega Grants. The application has seen continuous development, with the latest release, Beta 29, being released in December 2019. However, this time I don’t want to focus on that. Instead, I would like to mention something that is currently in testing phase, and will make it into the next update.

If you have seen models created with Dust3D, they tend to have a very low-poly look, and sometimes its models’ topology may not be the best, which should be fine for most indie developers, since many of them usually focus on lower-resolution 3D models and deformation fidelity (with bulging muscles, and anatomically-accurate deformations) is not a big issue. However, that may not be good if you are trying to create a higher-resolution model.

The developer, Jeremy HU, has been trying out a remesh feature, using an open source method called QuadriFlow, which is described on its official website as “QuadriFlow is a scalable algorithm for generating quadrilateral surface meshes based on the Instant Field-Aligned Meshes of Jakob et al.” The goal of QuadriFlow is to generate quad-based meshes using an automated method, that should reduce the amount of convergent edges (edges that converge in a single point, producing triangles), aiming to get rid of rendering artifacts. As I said, QuadriFlow is open source (and available on GitHub) and, as I understand, it is already being implemented in Blender.

There’s a test version of Dust3D that has already implemented QuadriFlow, and the results are pretty good. To test it, all you need to do is change the mesh generation method (from the top part of the “Parts” pane, by right clicking on “Root”) and you will see the model being swapped almost instantly. When you do this, you notice two thigs: first, the model is made mostly of quads (although it still has triangles here and there), and also the model looks softer.

One thing I noticed is that the QuadriFlow method is not perfect yet, and it will sometimes eliminate parts of your model. For example, in the sample model below you can see that this remeshing actually erases the legs of the bird:

However, other sample models don’t present this issue, so I am inclined to think this is something you can easily fix by tweaking the placement and size of the spheres you are using to build your model.

One thing to keep in mind is to do this using the method described above. Dust3D also lets you subdivide parts independently (for some reason) but that causes the models to not be merged together since they are being generated using different methods.

Dust3D is getting better and better. You should keep an eye on its development, specially if you find regular 3D applications too intimidating.

Test Dust3D’s remesh feature: https://github.com/huxingyi/dust3D/releases/unstable

Get Dust3D: https://dust3D.org/

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